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Nikola Jokic. The Superstar Denver’s Been Waiting For

February 21st, 2011.

This was the date the last NBA superstar played for the Denver Nuggets. That was the day the Nuggets traded away Carmelo Anthony.

That was the day basketball went dark in Denver.

Sure, the Nuggets would go on to win 57 games a couple years later.

Sure, most would say that trading Carmelo Anthony was a great move for the franchise.

Stop. The new age formula to win in the NBA, is built on superstars. You know it. I know it. Cleveland follows it and Golden State basically is it.

You will not win in the NBA without superstar talent. Losing Carmelo was a major dagger to the future success of the Nuggets whether fans liked it or not. Like it or not, he is arguably the greatest Nugget in franchise history and he pushed them towards postseason success. They have not won a playoff series since his departure and have yet to even sniff the playoffs over the past couple years.

Fast forward to 2016-2017 season where now, a team so desperate to find their next all-star, may have just hit the lotto. A diamond in the rough from Serbia in Nikola Jokic. This team is still trying to repair what was a frayed relationship with their own city after the franchise made some tough decisions to move away from the 57 win, coach of the year, George Karl. Finding Jokic is a monumental step in the right direction.

It now means there’s a man in town. A lead alpha dog that the Nuggets have yearned for that the city can embrace and bond with. The city is beginning to buy in and this was emphasized to great extents when Jokic sustained a hip injury in a win against the Phoenix Suns in late January.

Fans went dead silent in the arena. Fans took to twitter immediately showing compassion and love for their guy. Their man that they are now coming to love.

Meanwhile, players and coaches rushed to his side as Jokic laid in pain on the court that January night. Post-game? The feeling was tense, uneasy and a little frightening as word of his postgame X-Ray news had yet to spread. Each player clearly feeling effected by the injury during interviews and finally, like a boulder lifted from the shoulders of everyone, the news of Nikola Jokic negative x-rays began to spread and that his ‘day to day’ diagnosis confirmed that Denver’s new alpha dog, was ok.

Sometimes you need to go through adversity to learn, how important something or someone, is to your organization. Nikola Jokic would miss the next three games due to this injury and in those three games. The Nuggets were flat, off on chemistry and clearly discombobulated on offense. A direct showing of how important Jokic is, to the offense.

His rare skill set of size, finesse and vision for the court is outstanding. There truly is no big man in the NBA like him and in his return from injury, Friday night against the Milwaukee Bucks, Jokic turned on another level and turned away the minutes restriction he was suppose to be under, recording his first career triple-double on the way to a big win in-front of a large Pepsi Center crowd.

The Nuggets offense moves well with Jokic in the line up. They gel with great chemistry and are ten notches better with the “Joker” running the show. His vision and perfect touch with passes is magnificent to watch.

His vision to spot the play and deliver the pass with excellent accuracy is like a QB leading a WR perfectly on the football field. It truly is something the NBA hasn’t seen in a long time from someone of his stature.

Jokic’s vision is off the charts. He sees things develop, before they actually happen and knows where to go with the ball immediately.

Jokic’s instant reaction to the situation and awareness to know where everyone is makes everyone play at a much higher level. He has elevated the play of Kenneth Faried, who previously was an outcast in this Nuggets offense. Now, the “Manimal” is thriving.

He is the man the Nuggets have desperately been searching for since the Melo trade. Jokic has the talent, mindset and what now appears to be the growing leadership, to take this Nuggets team to the next level.

Will the Nuggets become a contender this year with the emergence of Jokic? Absolutely not. But with another offseason to build around their new clear cut alpha male, GM Tim Connelly has found the piece that may put the Nuggets on the road to becoming a serious player in the Western Conference.

Not all heroes wear capes. Some wear jerseys with the #15 on them.

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